Legislative Affairs

Photo of Monroe County Mayor David Rice Speaking at Florida Keys Days Affordable Housing in 2018

Legislative Affairs oversees and manages the legislative and intergovernmental initiatives and functions for the County at the state and federal levels.

The department's responsibilities include developing the County's state and federal legislative agendas, coordinating the County's position and response to pending state and federal legislation, preparing resolutions, talking points, issuing briefs and legislative updates, and identifying and responding to federal, state and local funding opportunities.

Legislative Priorities

Each year, Legislative Affairs creates a State Legislative Agenda and a Federal Legislative Agenda. They are advocacy tools used to work with federal and state lawmakers and agencies. It includes the County’s legislative priorities and the County’s positions on anticipated issues relevant to the County that are expected to arise in the current U.S. Congress or the current state Legislature. The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners approves these agendas.

The County’s legislative staff and federal and state lobbyists pursue the legislative issues listed in the approved agendas, placing special attention on the priority issues. Monroe’s contracted federal lobbyist is Greg Burns, with the firm Van Scoyoc Associates.

Legislative Affairs works with the County's state and federal lobbyists, County staff and attorneys, the County's municipal partners, and other key stakeholders to support and advance the County's legislative priorities and appropriations.

2020 Election Calendar

  • April 27-May 1: Qualifying for Candidates for Congress, State Attorney, Public Defender
  • June 15-June 19: Qualifying for State Senate, State Representative
  • August 25: Primary Election
  • November 3: General Election


The County will continue to focus on unique water quality and land acquisition needs, the importance of wind insurance affordability, and vacation rental regulations. The County will also continue to advocate for the creation of a 50/50 rule for a joint County/State shared financial responsibility in takings-cases.

The county will be seeking legislative appropriations of $20 million for water quality, $5 million for land acquisitions, $750,000 for the vessel pump-out program, $3 million for the Overseas Heritage Trail, and $500,000 for upgrades to the Guidance Care Center’s Baker Act Receiving Facility.

2020 State Legislative Session Calendar

  • September-November: Legislative Committee Weeks
  • Sept. 25-26: FAC Legislative Policy Conference
  • Nov. 20-22: FAC Legislative Conference
  • Jan. 14: Session Begins
  • Feb. 4: Keys Day
  • March 3: Last Day for Committee meetings
  • March 13: Session Ends


Monroe County is now focused on the 2019 Federal Legislative Session. This year the County’s federal priorities include:

  • Support Re-Authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Protect Its Affordability
  • Support timely FEMA Public Assistance Reimbursement for Hurricane Irma
  • Oppose oil drilling and exploration, lease expansion and seismic testing on federal lands and waters

They also include support of 2020 funding for:

  • PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF TAXES FUNDING: Support full and long-term mandatory funding of the Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.
  • FLORIDA KEYS WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM FUNDING: Support full funding of the Florida Keys Water Quality Improvements Program via the Army Corps of Engineers annual Work Plans.
  • FLORIDA KEYS NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY WATER QUALITY PROTECTION PROGRAM FUNDING: Support full funding of the South Florida Geographic Program/Florida Keys Water National Marine Sanctuary Quality Protection Program in annual Interior and Environment Appropriations bills.
  • EVERGLADES RESTORATION: Support efforts to improve the health of Florida Bay by restoring adequate freshwater flows through the Everglades. Support funding for EAA Reservoir and CEPP and construction of the other elements of the Central Everglades Planning Project.

Memberships in Legislative Alliances

  • Florida Association of Counties
  • Small County Coalition
  • Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact
  • South Florida Regional Planning Association
  • National Association of Counties
  • Gulf States Counties and Parishes Caucus

Florida Association of Counties' Federal Committee

Monroe County also works in partnership with federal groups to advance the County’s priorities. Monroe County is a member of Florida Association of Counties’ Federal Committee with Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers on the board. This committee helps to shape FAC’s federal priorities, which includes reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.

2017 Congressional Climate Caucus Presentation and Testimony by Commissioner Heather Carruthers

Carruthers address Florida Association of Counties in 2018

National Association of Counties

Monroe County is a member of the National Association of Counties (NACO). Monroe County Commissioner Carruthers participate on NACO’s Gulf Coast Counties and Parishes Caucus, which focuses on issues related to the Gulf of Mexico. These issues include the National Flood Insurance Program and funding for the RESTORE Act. The RESTORE ACT stands for the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act that was created due to the BP oil spill in 2010. Monroe County Legislative Director Lisa Tennyson sits on NACO’s Public Lands steering committee that monitors and advocates for federal PILT funding.

Southeast Regional Climate Change Compact

As a member of the Southeast Regional Climate Change Compact, Monroe County supports the Compact’s annual federal legislative agenda that advocates for federal action related to energy and climate issues.


The RESTORE Act is a 2012 federal law that established the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. It provides programs, projects, and activities that restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast Region that suffered from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Legislative Affairs is responsible for the implementation of the $20 million in RESTORE Act funds the County is slated to receive over the next 15 years.

Florida Keys Stewardship Act

The Florida Keys Stewardship Act was passed by the Florida State Legislature and signed into law in 2016. It was passed after a single session of consideration and is a significant State policy shift towards protecting the Florida Keys nearshore waters and lands that are critical to our delicate ecosystem. It also codifies the State’s recognition of the importance of land acquisition and water quality projects as critical needs.

Monroe County Pumpout Program

Federal and State Legislative Information and Links

For information on how to reach federal and state elected officials and for more information about the legislative process, go to Federal and State Legislative Information and Links.